Dolphins return refreshed, focused on Bethune-Cookman
It will be 10 days since the JU men’s basketball team last played, but the Dolphins have returned from their Christmas break ready to dig into conference play.

But first, JU (7-3) has to finish up its non-conference schedule against Bethune-Cookman (5-7) on Thursday at 7:15 in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The game will be broadcast on 1010XL, with the Bono’s Barbecue Pregame Show airing at 7 p.m.

The task facing JU head coach Cliff Warren and his coaching staff is a tall one – keeping his team focused on the next game and not continuing to relish the win over Florida.

“We’ve had a couple of practices and I’ve been impressed with how the guys have come back ready to get back to work,” Warren said. “Even after the win over Florida, I asked our freshmen who we played next and they all knew.

“We’re reminding them that they don’t hand out championships in December. We have to keep working to get better so that we’re playing our best in February and March.”

For freshman Keith McDougald, the Florida game was an early Christmas present – especially after halftime.

With JU leading by two at the break, McDougald had played nine minutes and was not shooting well – hitting just one of his six shots for just three points.

Something clicked for him when he came out for the second half as he torched the Gators for 11 points – hitting three huge 3-pointers to help JU force overtime.

Then with the Dolphins clinging to a one-point lead twice in the final minute, the freshman knocked down his two free throws both trips to the stripe – giving Jacksonville a historic upset.

* Ayron Hardy is ninth in the country in steals, averaging 3.0 per game. He leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in the category.
* Keith McDougald has led the Dolphins in scoring in each of the last two games and three times this season.
* JU is 3-1 against teams in the state of Florida this season, with the only loss coming to Miami in the season opener.